Good governance is an essential factor in running successful charities. It builds upon foundations of legal and regulatory compliance by adding strong and robust accountability, transparency and ethical behaviour. Organisations that take governance seriously will also invest in supporting a board’s continuous improvement in order to lead the charity in delivering its charitable objects and public benefit in an effective and sustainable manner. One aspect of a board committed to learning and improving will be the undertaking of a regular board evaluation.
The Charity Governance Code recommends that a board reviews its own performance and that of individual trustees, including the chair, every year. This should consider the board’s balance of skills, knowledge and experience, its diversity in the widest sense, how the board works together, and other factors relevant to its effectiveness. For larger charities, an externally facilitated review should take place every three years. This guidance note provides a number of sample board observation sheets that charity boards may wish to adapt as part of their board evaluation process.